While Pandya, who has led India in 11 T20Is so far, has only stepped into that role on an interim basis as regular captain Rohit Sharma will miss this match due to his brother-in-law’s marriage, it will be interesting to watch how the vice-captain operates. India in the ODI when given the reins in the 50-over game.
At a time when players are more likely to be annoyed by the IPL-2023 which kicks off on 31 March and the World Test Championship final against Australia in June, India should find the motivation to give their best of itself in this series also.
For the past six months, India’s record at home in ODIs has been as good as in the other two formats. In October they beat South Africa 2-1, then beat Sri Lanka and then New Zealand 3-0.
One man who stood out for his sparkling performances in the six ODIs against the Lankans and the Kiwis was Shubman Gill, averaging 113.40, the charming opener scored 567 runs and passed three centuries in the two series, announcing his arrival and booking his place as Rohit’s undisputed opening partner in the 2023 ODI World Cup.
What would add to the Punjab man’s growing confidence is that just a few days ago, he slammed his second Test century (128) at home in Tests, against Australia in Ahmedabad.
Somewhere, India would also like Suryakumar Yadav, who played an ODI for the first time in front of his home crowd in Mumbai, to replicate his ultra-blazing form in T20Is in ODIs – where his record is pretty ordinary so far , 433 runs in 20 [email protected], with only two fifties to show.
This pales in comparison to his brilliant CV in T20Is, where he batted 1675 runs in 48 matches at 46.52, with a brilliant strike rate of 175.76. It is evident that “Sky” needs to spend more time styling, rather than immediately focus on his “nice” shots that made him famous in the T20I.
Many eyes will be on former India captain Virat Kohli, who has just finished his 75th Test century, a patient 186 in the fourth Test and Ravindra Jadeja. The all-round star will play his first ODI from July 2022. With Axar Patel and Washington Sundar also in the mix, it would be interesting to see if India tries Axar Patel and Washington Sundar or tries the ‘Kulcha’ option: Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Australia will be strengthened by their 3-1 record at Wankhede. Last time they faced India here, they won by 10 wickets.
Likely to meet with some flat wickets during this short run, the Aussies will be hampered by the absence of their regular captain Pat Cummins and his bowling partner Josh Hazlewood. However, the arrival of veteran opener David Warner lends solid muscle to their batting, provided he is fit for the first game.